Cold/chilled desserts

Mango – mint semifreddo

“I’m not a vegetarian! I’m a dessertarian!”- Bill Watterson.

I think I have become all the more annoying to my friends and family since I have started a food blog. For starters , I keep asking them to describe in detail what they think about the cake or cookie I made them. Good or tasty (or not great)isn’t enough. How is the texture , how is the sweetness , how soft , how moist , how fudgy etc etc ( apparently the people in my life don’t really care that much about any of it unless it tastes good) . Then there is the fact that I somehow find it necessary to tell them that I made a pound cake or sponge cake or a chiffon cake instead of just “cake”. And if that isnt enough, I find it more necessary to describe just why a chiffon cake is different from a pound cake. (Again. They aren’t interested .) I think they sometimes feel they are better off not tasting my cakes than listen to my food rants !

When I served this mango and mint delight to some pals , and told them it’s not icecream but semi freddo , I got the evil eye once again. So I left them in peace to enjoy the dessert in the sweltering heat and let the conversation shift to more interesting (and important) things .

You guys aren’t spared though. Because I assume you love talking about food as much as I do.  You of course have an option to scroll right down to the recipe!

So a “semi freddo” quite literally means “half cold” and is another treasure from the vast Italian repertoire of desserts. Semi freddo is made from a custard base consisting of egg yolks and sugar (called sabayon) . Flavours are added in and the volume is thanks to either whipped cream or egg whites.Unlike icecream , it doesnt turn icy , but remains smooth and sliceable even when straight from the freezer. And there is no churning , just chilling !

Since this was my first try at one , I went as traditional as I could . I used egg yolks (side effects of repeated macaron failures)  but stuck with cream as I wanted to avoid the raw egg whites. Although I think you can heat the egg whites too. I went with the seasonal mango and the evergreen mint as I am a big fan of this flavour profile. Of course , be prepared for a very pale semi freddo as the cream mellows out the yellow of the mango. You would get a more vibrant plate if you add some food colouring or skip the mint.

Semi freddo is light and creamy and is so soothing on the palate. It’s a great dessert option for lunches , especially when you can’t afford to take a nap after !

Mango and Mint semifreddo
Light and creamy Italian style frozen dessert - a mango and mint semifreddo!
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  1. 2 egg yolks
  2. 100 grams or ¼ cup granulated sugar
  3. 125 ml or ½ cup cream
  4. 1 medium to large mango
  5. 10 to 12 fresh Mint leaves
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Puree the flesh of the mango and the mint together in a blender or food processor. The mango should be smooth while there will be flecks of the mint still visible. Keep aside.
  2. Chill the cream, bowl and whisk or beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then add two tablespoons of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Keep refrigerated until you need it.
  3. In a metal bowl, measure out the remaining two tablespoons of sugar and the yolks. Place this bowl over a saucepan with an inch of water in it. The bowl should fit snugly in the saucepan without it's bottom touching the water. Place over low heat and start whisking the yolks and sugar.The water in the saucepan should be simmering .
  4. Once the sugar dissolves , take off heat and keep beating until the mixture is pale and looks mousselike.
  5. Once the bowl is cool , mix in the mango mint puree and vanilla.
  6. Fold in the whipped cream gently in two or three additions. Once the colour is smooth throughout , you are ready to freeze it.
  7. Line any tin with plastic wrap or parchment so that the edges are long enough on two sides to pull out later. Or just freeze in any container with lid if you are scooping it out.
  8. Chill for 4 to 6 hours.
  9. Slice or scoop and serve immediately !
  1. This makes about 700 ml of semi freddo and the amounts can be doubled.
  2. I used a small loaf tin and it set in around 2 hours.
  3. The sweetness depends on the ripeness of your fruit. Add more sugar if you feel the mango isn't too sweet. As is, this recipe is lightly sweet.
  4. You can fold in cubes of mango if u want to chunkier semi freddo .

The semifreddo was a great hit , even among my friends who insisted to call it icecream (just to irk know-it-all me ) ! It could be because of the freshness of the mango and mint , or it could be because of the velvety smoothness of the semifreddo. Or it could be because its like a 100 degrees every noon . I suspect it was a combination of all three , but the semifreddo definitely will make a comeback in my freezer (and maybe my blog) this summer!


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